"If I were a producer or director and I was looking for someone to score a film, my first choice would be Jerry Goldsmith. Jerry is uncompromising in his drive for excellence, uncompromising in his bravery to experiment with other media. He is the kind of composer that makes a film."
"The happiest phase of picture making comes with the blending of the music and dramatic content. In my opinion, Jerry has no peer in the understanding and pursuance of both. He is an artist who meets all the demands upon the composer in film. His music stands by itself as a musical entity."
—Franklin J. Schaffner, director, Patton
"His chameleon adaptability was a prerequisite to longevity and success in Hollywood. We used to call him Gorgeous. He was the golden boy, a beautiful presence. His music had a freshness, and he had a freshness."
Jerrald King "Jerry" Goldsmith (February 10, 1929 – July 21, 2004) was a famous and prolific American film score composer from Los Angeles, California. Goldsmith was nominated for eighteen Academy Awards (winning one, for The Omen), and also won five Emmy Awards.
Goldsmith learned to play the piano at age six. At fourteen, he studied composition, theory and counterpoint with teachers Jacob Gimpel and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Goldsmith attended the University of Southern California, where he became the student of legendary composer Miklós Rózsa, who had written the score for the Ingrid Bergman movie Spellbound. Goldsmith developed an interest in writing scores for movies after being inspired by Rózsa.
Goldsmith went on to collaborate with many great filmmakers throughout his career, including Robert Wise (The Sand Pebbles, Star Trek the Motion Picture), Howard Hawks (Rio Lobo), Otto Preminger (In Harm's Way), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), Steven Spielberg / Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist), and Ridley Scott (Alien). But his most fruitful collaboration was arguably that with Franklin Schaffner (for whom Goldsmith scored Planet of the Apes, Patton and Papillon).
Goldsmith was perhaps the most eclectic composer in cinema, providing tailor-made scores for many different genres, including war films (The Blue Max), film noir (L.A. Confidential), action movies (First Blood), erotic thrillers (Basic Instinct), sports pictures (Rudy), westerns (Breakheart Pass), comic book adaptations (Supergirl), and science fiction (Total Recall and five Star Trek films). His ability to write visceral, terrifying music won him his only Academy Award for his violent choral/orchestral score for The Omen. He also was awarded with Emmys for television scores like the Holocaust drama QB VII, and the epic Masada, as well as the theme from Star Trek Voyager.
Due to his wide grasp of different musical techniques, Goldsmith's scores were never as quickly identifiable as those of composers with narrower abilities. Goldsmith was a lover of innovation and adaptation, and the use of strange instruments. His score for Alien for example featured an orchestra augmented by shofar, steel drum and serpent (a Medieval instrument), while creating further "alien" sounds by filtering string pizzicati through an echoplex. Many of the instruments in Alien were used in such atypical ways they were virtually unidentifiable. Goldsmith was also a studious researcher of ethnic music, and found uses for South American Zampoñas in Under Fire, native tribal chants in Congo, and brilliantly interwove a traditional Irish folk melody with African rhythms in The Ghost and the Darkness. His genius for creation and innovation delighted his fans - and often intimidated his peers. Henry Mancini, another great film music composer, once admitted that Goldsmith "scares the hell out of us."
Over time Goldsmith's interest in unusual instruments seemed to wane, and he relied more and more on synthesisers in searching for new timbres. While his electronic work was unquestionably inventive, many colleagues and fans alike began to feel he was becoming a little too synthesised. Some of his 80s work sounds a little dated today, owing to synth timbres (particularly on the Yamaha DX7) which were common to the era. That said, Goldsmith also got also some extraordinary sounds out of the DX7 and other digital keyboards of the 80s, many of which remain quite arresting 20 years on.
In addition to his countless television and film works, Goldsmith composed the Universal Studios Logo Theme that's been in use since The Lost World: Jurassic Park (and rather than be replaced for its 100th anniversary was rearranged by Brian Tyler), along with the themes that went with the Carolco, Cinergi, and C2 Pictures logos. He also wrote music for Disney World and Disneyland rides.
Check out his page of awesome music.
Goldsmith wrote music for these TV Shows, among others
Goldsmith composed the theme music of these TV Shows, among others
- The Man From UNCLE and The Girl From UNCLE (the latter adapted by Dave Grusin)
- Barnaby Jones
- Star Trek Voyager - this won him one of his five Emmys.
- The Waltons
- The 13th Warrior
- Air Force One (after being called in last-minute to replace Randy Newman's too-goofy score, Goldsmith had to compose this entire score in just twelve days - Joel Mc Neely stepped in to help out, doing scenes like the dogfight climax)
- The Agony and the Ecstasy
- Baby Secret of the Lost Legend
- Basic Instinct (Of all the scores he wrote, Goldsmith has said that Basic Instinct was the hardest and most complex, according to a mini-documentary on the special edition DVD.)
- The Boys from Brazil
- The Burbs
- Capricorn One
- Chain Reaction
- Damnation Alley
- Deep Rising
- Dennis the Menace US
- Executive Decision
- The Edge
- Fierce Creatures
- The First Great Train Robbery
- First Knight
- The Ghost and the Darkness
- The Haunting
- Hollow Man
- Islands in the Stream (acknowledged by Goldsmith as his own personal favorite)
- King Solomons Mines
- L.A. Confidential
- The Last Castle
- Legend (European release)
- Logan's Run
- Medicine Man
- Mom and Dad Save The World
- The Mummy
- The Omen and the sequels (the first film won him his only Oscar)
- Our Man Flint and its sequel
- Planet of the Apes (and Escape From The Planet Of The Apes)
- Poltergeist and the first sequel
- Psycho II
- The first three Rambo movies
- The River Wild
- The Russia House
- The Sand Pebbles
- The Secret of NIMH
- Seven Days in May
- The Shadow
- Small Soldiers
- Sleeping with the Enemy
- Star Trek the Motion Picture - The theme he composed for this movie was reused for Star Trek the Next Generation, and has become the musical theme most strongly associated with the franchise, besides Alexander Courage's fanfare.
- The Sum of All Fears
- The Swarm
- Tora! Tora! Tora!
- Total Recall
- Twilight Zone: The Movie
- U.S. Marshals
- The Vanishing
- The Waltons
- The Wind and The Lion
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action - his final film that he scored (completed by John Debney).
Tropes associated with his works include:
- African Chant - Used one in Congo
- Associated Composer - To Sean Connery, Michael Crichton, but most notably to Franklin Schaffner.
- Badass Long Hair - His iconic ponytail he sported during the late whole 90's. Sean Connery liked it so much he wanted to sport it in Medicine Man.
- Bootstrapped Theme - Nowadays, even those who don't appreciate Star Trek, his music is the most recognizable piece of work second only to Alexander Courage's fanfare from the The Original Series.
- Climactic Music - Rudy
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The man was just so good.
- Ironic Nursery Tune
- It's Been Done - Yeah, you think this music is totally original? Goldsmith already composed that one!!! Might also count as Older Than They Think, (albeit not that old) and Suspiciously Similar Score.
- Lonely Piano Piece - A Patch of Blue.
- Musical Nod
- Ominous Latin Chanting
- Ominous Music Box Tune
- Ominous Pipe Organ
- One-Woman Wail
- Orchestral Version - Of the folk song "The Water Is Wide" in the film, The River Wild.
- Recurring Riff - Goldsmith's own version of Star Trek fanfare is used throughout the five films he scored.
- Shown Their Work - And it clearly shows.
- quite a few noteworthy composers for film - Fred Karlin, David Raksin, Gil Melle, Piero Piccioni and Michel Colombier - also went to their maker that year